|This is one of my most traveled routes near my home...usually pre-dawn.|
|Just some wildflowers along the route.|
After my 18, time was bearing down on me as I had a 12:30pm appointment in Kent...for a tattoo. Yep, this sailor of 14 1/2 years did not have one. Shocking, isn't it? Well, before I share with you the tattoo, I have to address an issue. All throughout my life, I have been taught/told/etc. that tattoos are wrong and against the Bible. While this is not a blog about my Christian walk, many of you know that I profess to be a Christian and have been one since the age of 5. You also can't deny the public stigma attached to tattoos or many folks' immediate non-spoken reaction when they see one. Often, the person wearing the tattoo gets judged without speaking a word. I will admit...I have done that but I thought it was just wrong because I was told so. Today...in 2012...my faith is at an all-time high and my "vertical" relationship is stronger than ever. Without it, I wouldn't be sitting here tonight typing this, I promise you. So what does the Bible say about it? The Scripture quoted most often comes out of Leviticus in the Old Testament. Most just quote the verse and leave it at that. The verse clearly forbids tattoos. BUT, like ALL Scripture, you have to understand who the writer is, who the audience is, and the context it all is written in. In that passage, they were specifically addressing pagan worship, witchcraft, and the like. As you see in the following photos, nothing like that exists today on my body. But what about the New Testament? It doesn't specifically address or even name tattoos. Instead, it talks about in 1 Corinthians and Romans about treating your body like a "holy temple" and not "defiling" it. It also talks about doing everything you do to honor God.
So where do I stand? Clearly, my position has changed. Fact: God knows my heart. He knows my intentions. Fact: are ear piercings defiling? Is makeup on one's face? (yes, I know that's temporary) Plastic surgery? Tummy tuck? Stomach stapling? Heck, is running 100 miles TORTURE on one's body?!?! So yes, I think the matter truly is subjective. I do not hold the Old Testament as a direct forbidding of tattoos. It was speaking to a specific matter which does not apply to me. As for the New Testament, I did not do it for any sort of rebellion or with ANY evil intention. The bottom line is that I love my country and it's a huge part of who I am. In about 5 years, I'll retire from the U.S. Navy. I have been to sea many times aboard aircraft carriers, worked on and under nuclear submarines, and served my country in Afghanistan. To wear "that" permanently is part of who I am. It does not define me, though....let me be clear on that. It does not. My "vertical" relationship will always trump that and God knows that...He knows my heart. For the future, I do intend on another and it will mean a LOT to me. It will involve a cross, it will involve my wife and kids. It will "say" somehow what that empty cross means to me. An act of worship, perhaps? Oh yes.
So there you have it. It's a very controversial topic and one that some folks won't budge on. I know this...it raises my awareness to a whole new level on how I look at people...tattoos or not. Who am I to judge? It is not my place to do so. My barber, actually, is covered in tattoos, and I have never thought an ill thought against her. She is a GREAT person and a GREAT friend.
So on to mine. I was referred to Defiance Tattoos in Kent by a longtime fellow runner. She had the owner's kids in school and highly recommended him. I insisted on getting a referral for my first since issues with cleanliness and quality are certainly a concern. I first visited "Pops" last Sunday and explained what I envisioned and thumbed through some books. Once I had it nailed down, he sketched it and texted it to me later that night. I loved what I saw! Today was the day and I got it done. Below are a series of photos that take you from beginning to end. I am very, VERY happy. It is certainly larger than expected but now that it's done, I couldn't be more happy and I love how it wraps a bit around the back of my calf. "Pops" is certainly very talented and I'll only go back to him for the next one. Here they are!
|Black outline that he sketched and pressed on to guide him on the outline.|
|"Pops" tattooing the black outline. YES, it hurt...A LOT!|
|While laying on the table, my view of much of his prior work.|
|Black outline done... THANK GOODNESS! I nearly passed out. No joke.|
|Most of the shading added. A little more to go.|
|All shading complete and some red added. See the eagle's red tongue?|
|"Pops" prep table complete with tools and his ink.|
|The finished product. LOVE IT! Eagle is facing forward.|
|Due to its size, the flag and wings wrap around to the back. Perfect for those trying to catch me on the trails!|
|Did I mention I love it? Oh yea.|
So tonight, I have strict instructions about keeping it covered up and moisturized. I was also told that it'll leak and ruin whatever I'm laying on so we've taken preventative measures to prevent ruining any sheets. Old sheets on, towel underneath, and I'm wearing some old Navy sweats that are non-constricting. The bandage comes off in the morning and I'll clean it for the first time. The first 3-4 days are key to letting the leg heal properly.
Have a great Friday and weekend, everyone!!!